P. Diddy, Shoe Addicts and Me – in NYC

P. Diddy, Shoe Addicts and Me – in NYC

True Story: I was at a private shoe addict event in NYC while P. Diddy was partying upstairs.

My event had nine in attendance; by the sound of things coming through the ceiling I am going to guess his had a few more.

I am not totally certain how you get invited to Diddy events, but this is how I got invited to mine:

I purchased more shoes from the Colorado DSW stores than any other person in the entire state.

And unbeknownst to me at the time, by doing so it got me on the invite list to an exclusive event in New York City for wining, dining and brainstorming with the DSW branding folks.

What DSW wanted out of me and the other eight women in attendance were our thoughts on how they should change the look and feel of their stores. What I got out of them was two nights in a Manhattan boutique hotel, dinners from some of the city’s finer restaurants and the biggest shopping day in the history of my business.

Interestingly, the other women at the event were not resellers. When I asked a DSW representative how people were selected for the event, I was told it was based on spending habits.

“There were people,” he said, “that spent more than those here, but they were resellers and not invited.”

I smiled and nodded.

Of the nine women present, one unabashedly explained to us why she thought it was shoe purchasing best practices to buy three pairs of the exact same shoe – one pair for her home in Palm Beach, the other for her place in Dallas and of course, let’s not let the Aspen condo feel left out in the cold.

Other women in the group, although clearly having similar spending habits were a little less forthright in how it can to be that they spent 10s of 1000s of dollars annually for shoes – at DSW alone. This went on for two solid days 9 to 5, and then I was released to do one of things I, as a shoe reseller did best, buy designer footwear.

My first stop was the Manhattan DSW which by pure happenstance they had loads of Prada and Mui Mui shoes, on clearance nonetheless, just waiting for me to purchase and ship home.

Then, I hit the jackpot of my life.

As background, up to this moment I had to get on a plane to go to the Tod’s Outlet, and another plane to go to the Gucci Outlets and yet another for a trip to the Prada Outlets. However, with one inconsequential bus ride from New York City, what did I find before me? Woodbury Outlet Mall home of Chanel, Tod’s, Kate Spade, Gucci, YSL, Fendi, Ferragamo, and so on and so on and…

People, my feet landed in the parking lot of this place and tears of shoe joy welled up in my very eyes. I considered falling to my knees, raising my arms up – to what would have been the Woodbury parking lights and security cameras – and screeching yelps of profound gratitude and thanks.

But not wanting to waste a moment of time (or end up in handcuffs), I decided instead to beeline it to my first store and then my second and continued as such until I acquired my biggest one day purchase of shoes ever – $30,000 worth!

It would be three years before I returned to feel that same surge of elation when my feet touched down on the sacred piece of hard black earth that some people, who don’t know better, may call the Woodbury parking lot.

But this particular day would end much differently than my first visit.

I arrived with the highest of high hopes and left with nothing.

Zilch.

Nada.

Not even a cruddy pair of flip flops.

My Woodbury discovery had been discovered.

The stores were cleaned out.

The limited options were priced way too high.

The strong Yen and Euro, at the time, meant the shelves were emptied by delighted Japanese and European shoppers.

Add to that the enormous popularity of Sex in the City, and it became a virtual guarantee if happy tourists did not buy the shoes, Carrie Bradshaw fans were scooping them up.

It was in this moment of designer shoe disillusionment and despair I realized this: I was ahead of my time for a long while, but others had now caught on. The people who were clearing the shelves of my beloved designer’s footwear were seemingly a new type of shoe addict or perhaps they were resellers who can, as I serendipitously learned, be easily mistaken as one.

….

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Comments

  1. Interesting read! I’m curious- did you target certain styles and sizes of shoes? Or did you just buy based on high end designers and whatever they had in stock? You must have been really good at knowing what your customers would want?

    • downtowngalshoes says:

      Thanks for your comment Kristi. First I picked a shoe for the designer, then the price of whatever was in stock. It took awhile but I did finally figure out what customers wanted. When we first started selling larger sized shoes for men and women I wasn’t sure they would sell, but it didn’t take long for me to realize larger foot challenged customers would end up being my bread and butter customers. For the first 10 years we sold about 90% women’s 10% men and the last 3 years it had flipped, 90% men and 10% women. Some trial and error along with some intuition seemed to be the best strategy. Enjoy the blog! Beth

  2. I better hide my credit cards — a brand new Chicago outlet mall (with Last Call by Neiman Marcus, Gucci and Barneys) opens this morning.

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